Photos by Kelly Nesbitt

Photos by Kelly Nesbitt

In 2012-2013, The Maine Arts Commission helped fund this collaboration entitled Murmurations; A Theatrical Ladies Choir (that was movement/voice based) and co-produced by Elizabeth Burd (Musical Director) and Kelly Nesbitt (Choreographer).  “Murmurations brings together 13 of Portland Maine's most sublime female voices, outfits them in sheer fabrics and strings of lights, and lets them move with lovely, lyrical whimsy. Collaborative in its creative process and stylistically inspired by Meredith Monk and the magical realism and ensemble work like that of Akira Kurosawa's Dreams, Murmurations' performers include Shana Barry, Ceci Gilson, Deb Grant, Megan Hevenor, Kristin Kellas, Marita Kennedy-Castro, Parks McKinney, Sara Hallie Richardson, Jerusha Robinson, Kellie Ryan, and Lilly Van Der Steenhoven, along with directors Kelly Nesbitt and Elizabeth Armentino-Burd. Using theatrical choreography, props, and a variety of things that glow in many colors, the ensemble has been developing an eclectic and varied repertoire. "Murmuration" is the term for a plurality of starlings and their mesmerizing shapes in flight, and indeed, rehearsing an interpretation of Feist's "I Feel it All" recently, members of Murmurations spun themselves into many lovely forms, including gumdrop trees and descending spirals of birds.” ~ By Megan Grumbling of The Portland Phoenix. Watch a Murmurations Rehearsal under the direction of Kelly Nesbitt & Elizabeth Burd. 

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From 2009- 2012, I was a core member of The Celebration Barn Ensemble in Maine, building on Celebration Barn’s tradition of original, physically based theater, the Celebration Ensemble was a collaboration between Amanda Huotari, Ian Bannon, Kavi Montanaro and Kelly Nesbitt. With backgrounds in music, photography, puppetry and improvisation, the foursome works collaboratively, telling stories through movement, sound and visual imagery. Thumbs Up (our most recent production) follows 20 year-old aspiring-writer Lexi up the Maine coast as she hitchhikes her way to Canada.  Along the way she falls in with a wild mix of characters as she chases down her ever elusive vision quest.  This funny and poignant story playfully explores the wisdom of the adage, “You can’t get there from here!”

“Innovative, intensely funny and uniquely Maine” 
– Kara Larson, Portland Performing Arts Festival

This project was in part funded by grants from The Maine Arts Commission and Portland Performing Arts Festival. 


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From 2000 to 2010, I played part in the prolific WORKNOT Vivification League, a collective congruency between Maine based artists and artists from across the country. Core ensemble members from Maine included; musicians Cerberus ShoalBig BloodTarpighMicah Blue SmaldoneColleen KinsellaOur Poor Neighbors, Bessie Award-winning dancer/choreographer Buffy Miller, photographer Somira Sao, painter Sara Crall, and myself.  WORKNOT also included Philly based clown/puppeteer/activist Beth Nixon, Rhode Island printmakers Jungil Hong and Erin Rosenthal, Toronto based musician Alex Lukashevsky, and more, all participating in the annual “Artists Curating Artists” series curated by musician/printmaker Colleen Kinsella. 

SPACE STUDIOS

 Photo courtesy of Space Studios, Portland, Maine

Photo courtesy of Space Studios, Portland, Maine

From 2002-2008 I was an active artist in this community building, creating steady work, collaborating with other artists, and participating in monthly open studio performances in Portland, Maine. 'Located in the three floors above SPACE Gallery on Congress Street in downtown Portland, Maine, SPACE Studios houses 35 working artists and Pickwick Independent Press. The SPACE Studios building is in the Durant Block, which was built around 1908. Since then, it has housed makers and purveyors of all kinds. We're not quite sure when it became an artist studio building, but it was designed that way when architect Christopher Campbell purchased the building in 1998 and spent 17 years dedicated to offering affordable space for artists (under the name The Artist Studios) as Portland developed a vibrant arts community.  SPACE Gallery moved into the bottom floor in 2002 and expanded into the annex space (the left storefront in the photo below) in 2011. In 2015, SPACE took ownership of the studios.'  See past artists. 

THE SACRED AND PROFANE FESTIVAL

 Kelly Nesbitt left, Eric Rubin right as bouffons at Sacred & Profane, 2015 (during a return visit to Maine)

Kelly Nesbitt left, Eric Rubin right as bouffons at Sacred & Profane, 2015 (during a return visit to Maine)

From 2001-2013 I was a volunteer organizer/performer/collaborator for this annual underground performance arts festival held inside a 'Battery Steele' a military bunker built in 1942 on Peaks Island, Maine.  'The Sacred and Profane festival is an art/performance/community event that takes place once a year the Saturday after the harvest moon in October on Peaks Island, Maine. It began around 1999 by a small group of artists creating public installations in the Battery Steele and sharing food as a way to celebrate the changing of the seasons. Over the years the festival has grown into an underground sensation and one of the most engaging artistic events in New England, if not the world.' -Aithyia Files. The Sacred & Profane is a volunteer run word of mouth festival with a crowd sizes ranging from 300-500 people and which requires multiple ferry boats. There is no official website, it is an underground affair, and so you have to dig around!

Other S&P photos from my past, below.

 'The Cobras'. This was my performance room with Michael Heinzer from Philly, painted by us.  Inside we made a bedroom installation. With limited power tools, we built a king size bed with all the fluffy bedding, set up end tables, made a fake w/c bathroom (see photo below), and projected slapstick horror movies onto the wall as we watched in our pajamas, eating popcorn, and smoking cigarettes in bed for 3 hours has the onlookers walked through our bedroom! We never acknowledged the people but they jumped into our bed with us and watched us pee!   

'The Cobras'. This was my performance room with Michael Heinzer from Philly, painted by us.  Inside we made a bedroom installation. With limited power tools, we built a king size bed with all the fluffy bedding, set up end tables, made a fake w/c bathroom (see photo below), and projected slapstick horror movies onto the wall as we watched in our pajamas, eating popcorn, and smoking cigarettes in bed for 3 hours has the onlookers walked through our bedroom! We never acknowledged the people but they jumped into our bed with us and watched us pee!

 

 our bathroom

our bathroom

 Crash Landing, fallen aviators  Crank Sturgeon  & Kelly Nesbitt

Crash Landing, fallen aviators Crank Sturgeon & Kelly Nesbitt

 Crash Landing, fallen aviators  Crank Sturgeon  & Kelly Nesbitt

Crash Landing, fallen aviators Crank Sturgeon & Kelly Nesbitt

 Curl Up & Dye 'Get some Trim' hair cutting tent, free haircuts by me!

Curl Up & Dye 'Get some Trim' hair cutting tent, free haircuts by me!

 The Procession Bouffons, 2010 Beth Nixon, Somira Sao, Kelly Nesbitt, Adam Shutzman, Weezie Fox

The Procession Bouffons, 2010 Beth Nixon, Somira Sao, Kelly Nesbitt, Adam Shutzman, Weezie Fox

 Buffy Miller (Bessie award winner) with Tarpiah performing underneath her. That's grass growing from the underground ceiling.

Buffy Miller (Bessie award winner) with Tarpiah performing underneath her. That's grass growing from the underground ceiling.

 Me on stilts performing with the Portland Jugglers Group

Me on stilts performing with the Portland Jugglers Group

 The Processional Team preparing

The Processional Team preparing

 Fire Juggling in the fort tunnel, left Colleen Kinsella, right Kelly Nesbitt

Fire Juggling in the fort tunnel, left Colleen Kinsella, right Kelly Nesbitt

 Looking down the pitch black Battery Steel tunnel, individual rooms and tunnels branch out from this tunnel, where artists have installations and perform.  The procession upon arriving are given candles as they enter the tunnel and a full moon feast and music awaits afterwards on top of the fort, Peaks Island Maine. This is all volunteer run. The crowd size range from 300-500 people and requires multiple ferry boats. 

Looking down the pitch black Battery Steel tunnel, individual rooms and tunnels branch out from this tunnel, where artists have installations and perform.  The procession upon arriving are given candles as they enter the tunnel and a full moon feast and music awaits afterwards on top of the fort, Peaks Island Maine. This is all volunteer run. The crowd size range from 300-500 people and requires multiple ferry boats.